At just £4.49/$4.99, Kamiko is currently the cheapest game available on the Nintendo Switch’s eShop.
And if you have a spare fiver knocking around, it’s definitely worth buying.
Kamiko is a simple, top-down 2D RPG-style adventure. It’s clear where its inspirations lie straight away: in terms of visual and audio at least, Kamiko will be instantly familiar to anyone who ever picked up a NES controller to play Legend of Zelda as a kid. Its gameplay isn’t entirely original either, but then what is original these days? While Kamiko may feel mostly like a homage to games of the past, it’s still got enough character and charm of its own to make picking it up worthwhile.
And did I mention that it’s about the price of a Starbucks?
Giving you the choice of one of three characters, Kamiko is a simple journey across four levels. Each character has their own specialty – one wields a dagger and shield, one a bow and arrow and the other a two-handed sword. It means combat is slightly different from each, but it doesn’t affect the gameplay much. Each level has four ‘gateways’ scattered throughout, and it’s your job to find these and activate them. Once all four gateways have been activated, you can proceed to the level boss. Lather, rinse, repeat until you’ve completed all four levels.
It’s not a long experience at all; I finished Kamiko with an in-game clock time of around 90 minutes. In reality I died several times and spent a lot of time wandering around trying to figure out where I had to go next so it was probably closer to two hours, but either way, it’s not a long game. There’s some replayability if you want to complete the game as each character, but with the gameplay remaining largely unchanged, it’s not exactly worthwhile.
But still, for a fiver, Kamiko is a two-hour experience that’s well worth your time. The pixel art of the game is absolutely beautiful; each of the four levels has a different theme and feeling to it – from a luscious green forest, to mysterious ancient ruins, each level is a joy to explore. The game’s soundtrack is pretty beautiful too, adding to the action and providing the perfect ambience to your swift yet enjoyable adventure.
The main problem for me was the amount of backtracking I ended up doing at times. Enemies respawn within seconds of moving away from them, so needing to continually retrace my steps soon got annoying when I had to fight the same group of enemies half a dozen times. The puzzles aren’t difficult, but some solutions are easy to miss, resulting in a lot of aimless wandering if you’re not as observant as you should be. Still, when you do find the answer, it’s easy to accept the fault as your own – Kamiko never unfairly challenges you. The whole game is just about enjoying the adventure.
Kamiko is not a massive time sink. It’s not going to blow you away with ingenuity or original ideas, but it is going to provide you with a sweet adventure set in a beautiful pixelated world for a couple of hours. If you’ve got a bit of spare change sat in your eShop wallet, then you shouldn’t hesitate to pick this up.